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Archaius tigris (KUHL, 1820)

IUCN Red List - Archaius tigris - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymChamaeleo tigris KUHL 1820: 104
Chamaeleo scychellensis KUHL 1820: 104
Chamaeleo seichellensis — CUVIER 1829 (n. emend. pro Chamaeleo scychellensis KUHL 1820)
Chamaeleo tigris — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 212
Chamaeleo seychellensis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836 (n. emend. pro Chamaeleo scychellensis KUHL 1820)
Chameleo fimbriatus — GRAY 1845 (nom. nud.)
Lophosaura tigris — GRAY 1865: 351
Chamaeleon tigris — WERNER 1911
Chamaeleo tigris — MERTENS 1966
Calumma tigris — KLAVER & BÖHME 1986
Calumma tigris — NECAS 1999: 253
Archaius tigris — TOWNSEND et al. 2010
Archaius tigris — TOLLEY et al. 2013 
DistributionSeychelles (Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette)

Type locality: none given; Iles Seychelles (Guibé 1954)  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 6640 (by monotypy) 
CommentCalumma tigris (Kuhl 1820) is endemic and the only chameleon occurring on the Seychelles.

A phylogenetic analysis revealed that Calumma tigris is not closely related to other Calumma. TOWNSEND et al. (2010) thus proposed to put C. tigris in its own genus, Archaius GRAY 1865, because it “differs strikingly from its closest relatives, Rieppeleon, in microhabitat usage (arboreal versus ground-shrub dwelling), tail length (long versus short) and general appearance (larger and more colourful versus small and drab).

Type species: Chamaeleo tigris is the type species of the genus Archaius GRAY 1865 (LOVERIDGE 1957). 
EtymologyPossibly named after the tiger pattern, but that’s not obvious.

The genus name is from Greek “archaios”, ancient, primitive. 
  • Duméril, A.M. C. and G. Bibron. 1836. Erpetologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol. 3. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 528 pp. - get paper here
  • Glaw, F. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). [type catalogue] Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): 167–246 - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Gray,J.E. 1865. Revision of the genera and species of Chamaeleonidae, with the description of some new species. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 15: 340-354 - get paper here
  • Grimm, A. & Grimm, M. 1999. Das Tigerchamäleon (Calumma tigris). Elaphe 7 (3): 11-15
  • GRIMM, M. 2003. Haltung und Zucht der Tigerchamäleons Calumma tigris (KUHL, 1820). CHAMAELEO 13(2): 27-30. - get paper here
  • Grimm, M. & Grimm, A. 2000. Weitere Beobachtungen zum Tigerchamäleon (Calumma tigris, [KUHL 1820]). Elaphe 8 (4): 73-75
  • Kuhl,H. 1820. Beiträge zur Zoologie und vergleichenden Anatomie. Hermannsche Buchhandlung, Frankfurt, 152 pp. - get paper here
  • Necas, Petr 1999. Chameleons - Nature's Hidden Jewels. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt; 348 pp.; ISBN 3-930612-04-6 (Europe)<br />ISBN 1-57524-137-4 (USA, Canada)
  • PAWLOWSKI, S. & C. KRÄMER 2012. Das Seychellen - Tigerchamäleon Archaius tigris (KUHL, 1820) in seinem natürlichen Habitat. Sauria 34 (1): 27-36 - get paper here
  • Pawlowski, S. & Krämer, C. 2006. Herpetologische Eindrücke von den zentralen Sychelleninseln Praslin, Curieuse, La Digue und Cousin. Elaphe 14 (3): 53-61
  • Pawlowski, S. & Krämer, C. 2009. Zur Herpetologie des Vallée de Mai auf Praslin, Seychellen. Sauria 30 (4): 19-27 [2008] - get paper here
  • Schmidt, W.; Tamm, K. & Wallikewitz, E. 2010. Chamäleons - Drachen unserer Zeit. Natur und Tier Verlag, 328 pp. [review in Reptilia 101: 64, 2013] - get paper here
  • Tolley KA, Townsend TM, Vences M. 2013. Large-scale phylogeny of chameleons suggests African origins and Eocene diversification. Proc R Soc B 280: 20130184 - get paper here
  • Townsend, Ted M.; Krystal A. Tolley, Frank Glaw, Wolfgang Böhme and Miguel Vences 2010. Eastward from Africa: palaeocurrent-mediated chameleon dispersal to the Seychelles islands. Biology Letters 7 (2):225-228, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0701 - get paper here
  • Van Heygen, Guy & Emmanuel Van Heygen 2004. First observations in the wild of the egg laying behaviour of Calumma tigris (Kuhl 1820). Phelsumania: - get paper here
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